Maternal prenatal attachment in women who conceive through in vitro fertilization
This study explored whether prenatal attachment differed in women who conceived through IVF with their own eggs versus those who conceived with donor eggs and whether source of eggs, number of treatment cycles, anxiety and social support in pregnancy were predictive of prenatal attachment in this population of women. Three study designs were used: (1) a comparative descriptive design to compare prenatal attachment in women who used their own eggs and those who used donor eggs, (2) a predictive correlational design to identify significant predictors of prenatal attachment, and (3) a descriptive correlational design to examine the relationships between selected demographic variables and prenatal attachment.
The admission sample consisted of 113 women who conceived through in vitro fertilization and completed an on-line survey. Of these women, 102 conceived with their own eggs and 11 with donor eggs. Their mean age was 34 years, and they were predominantly Caucasian, married, and well educated.
Participation in the study was announced through a posting on the bulletin boards of two web sites related to pregnancy after infertility. An on-line survey was used to collect data on sociodemographic information, source of eggs, number of treatment cycles, anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), social support in pregnancy (Social Support Apgar), and prenatal attachment (Maternal-Fetal Attachment Scale).
No significant differences were found in prenatal attachment between women who conceived with their own eggs and women who conceived with donor eggs. Source of eggs, number of treatment cycles, anxiety and social support in pregnancy were not significant predictors of prenatal attachment for the study sample. Women who conceived with their own eggs had significantly less trait anxiety and higher social support. Prenatal attachment was positively and significantly correlated with fetal movement, known sex of baby, and anxiety.
Influences on prenatal attachment in women conceiving through IVF are multifaceted and much is still unknown. Uncovering influencing variables and better understanding the process of developing prenatal attachment in women conceiving through IVF will provide nurses the evidence base they need to practice and support these women through pregnancy and beyond. Implications of this study and directions for further research are discussed.
In vitro fertilization